Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange extends 5G testing in France; Cisco invests in UK innovation; ADVA revenues down in Q2.
Google's Loon -- a system of high altitude balloons used to spread Internet connectivity to the parts of the world others cannot reach -- is to become a commercial reality in Africa. Loon, now a separate company within the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)/Alphabet Inc. empire, has struck a deal with Telkom Kenya , which will see its technology used to serve the Internet-starved in both rural and suburban locations from next year. Loon has had its problems in the past, crashing in Nevada and being mistaken for a UFO in Columbia, but it has already proved its usefulness after last year's hurricane in Puerto Rico, providing connectivity while the infrastructure was being repaired. (See Oh, the Huge Manatee! Google's US Loon Tests Renewed Into 2020.)
It's behind you!
Orange (NYSE: FTE) has earmarked three more testing grounds for 5G in the Greater Paris region and Île-de-France, following on from earlier trials in Lille, Douai and Marseille. The 5G circus will now take up residence in the Orange Opéra megastore in Paris, the Orange Gardens site in Châtillon and a vehicle testing track at Linas-Montlhéry.
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), the US networking gear giant, has committed to a $100 million investment to encourage digital innovation in the UK, with the first fruit of the agreement being a partnership with University College London to open what they describe as one of the world's largest artificial intelligence research centers. The investment forms part of Cisco's Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program.
Second-quarter revenues at Germany's ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) fell 14.2% year-on-year, to €123.7 million ($143.4 million), though net income was up 1.2% to €4.57 million ($5.29 million). Understandably, the vendor preferred to focus on Q2 2018 being its third consecutive quarter of sequential revenue growth. Looking ahead, ADVA expects revenues for the third quarter to be in the range of €123 million ($142.6 million) and €133 million ($154.2 million).
Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) has appointed Anne Kvam EVP and chief corporate affairs officer, reporting directly to the big cheese, Sigve Brekke. Kvam comes from a banking background, and has already served two years as a member of the Norwegian operator's corporate assembly. She succeeds Wenche Agerup, who is heading up a new unit, Group Holdings, which will focus on "telco-adjacent" businesses such as real estate.
Sir Charles Dunstone is to stay on as chairman of UK broadband provider TalkTalk after he won the backing of 97% of shareholders at the company's annual general meeting, the Daily Telegraph reports. Some advisory firms had called for him to go after the company raised £200 million ($259.6 million) by placing shares representing 19.99% of stock, which is just below the threshold requiring investor approval. Dunstone personally controls 28.6% of TalkTalk.